Review Summary: After the band's closest chance to redemption with Phoenix, well... it's destroyed.
More Asia is not a bad thing... right?
Yeah, well, they've proved the exact opposite. For the last three generations, Asia completely destroys whatever they had left, beat their potential into submission, following the post-Astra years. Time and time again, the media has ignored Asia considering their streak of mediocrity, and the public that actually listens to Asia dismisses them, rightfully so. Albums like Silent Nation
have proved that, and in the most painful way. After decades of bad songwriting, godawful production, and bland lyrical performances, the original line-up has come back full circle. And in Phoenix
, we were finally introduced to the band's first decent album in years. And now, with Omega, Asia flushes any potential they had left right down the crapper.
Everything else Asia has released is just about the same formula: at least they're rigidly consistent. The keyboards make a return in their usual frantic form. If there was anything Asia actually had a saving grace for, it was the keyboard flare in every song, the electronic feel it took on. Only here, there's nothing they haven't done, and a great instrument is, once again, used in the least inventive way as possible. The lead guitar is uneventful and straightforward, and it needs more babysitting than a state senator outside the green zone. It sounds as if it hasn't been tuned in YEARS. The drums are bland, but they dominate over the guitar, one move this badly-produced LP made that would cost them.
And disappointingly, this is almost too MUCH Asia. A stinger of the album would be the songwriting, and even this fails miserably, which doesn't help the album in any ways. Sometimes it's far too melodramatic and dreads on too long (They storm the citadel / To fight the infidel / The Village Green's a bloody sty /
God, two kings and a Pope / Could be our only hope / 'St George!' will be our battle cry
), or far too mainstream, a habit Asia really needs to take a break on. (Emily, I want you, but there's nothing I can do
Now I know, all you see, my invisibility
) Although I prefer Wetton over John Payne, Wetton's vocals are at the most annoying of his career, almost as if he can't be bothered to perform the disaster that is Omega.
Compounding Omega's woes are its lack of new material. It's business as usual. There's the same love song every damn time (Emily, Don't Wanna Lose You Now), the same poorly-constructed war song (Holy War, End of the World), and the same strange-as-hell song (Drop a Stone, Finger on the Trigger). In fact, it's the first half of the album that performs better than the second half. End of the World
probably drops the best instruments on the whole album, despite being a barely passable song. Through my Veins
is below average for the album, continues the sound that made them famous in their debut and second release, with keyboards and high-pitched guitars, with little or none drum interaction. And yet, the lesser tracks are better as a whole.
It's still tough to stomach Omega, considering that Phoenix was a start, a chance for redemption and resurrection, even if it was just slightly above average. But considering how exhausting this album is to get through, only a patient music lover would barely make it through the second half, IF you're lucky. And considering that this album bites off more than it can chew, the menial vocals will dull the experience even more, if it was even possible. But, hey! At least we have their next album to look forward to. Eh?
The Verdict: The hell is this ***?
+ The keyboards are a hoot.
- Vocals and guitars is unmemorable.
- It sounds like a bulldog munching on a dead cat. In other words, atrocious.
? Why do Asia's albums suck so BADLY?
Geoff Downes – keyboards, backing vocals
John Wetton – bass, lead vocals
Steve Howe – guitar, backing vocals
Carl Palmer – drums, percussion
You know what's worse? It's better than Silent Nation and Rare.